The theatrical events and culture of Annecy

Annecy is a charming town situated in the Haute-Savoie region of the French Alps on the shores of Lake Annecy. This holiday destination has many attractions which make it popular with tourists, attractions which, in addition to its incredible countryside, mountains and picturesque castles, include the town’s theatrical events festivals and local culture.


Bonlieu is the name of the main cultural complex for Annecy. Located in the middle of the town but facing Lake Annecy, it is only a couple of hundred metres from the railway station, making it convenient for visitors to Annecy. Bonlieu National Scene, or Bonlieu Scene Nationale, as it is called in French, is the performing arts theatre within the Bonlieu complex, which also houses a public library, the tourist office for Annecy and some shops.

The Bonlieu National Scene theatre has three halls for performances, and it stages plays, musical events and dance. The largest hall has 1,000 seats, and the smaller halls have room for 300 and 150 spectators. The Bonlieu National Scene is one of the top five national theatres in France, and newly renovated, it has celebrated having been running for over 30 years.

Coup de Theatre

Coup de Theatre Festival is an annual week-long event in Annecy. The name translated from the French, means “Dramatic turn of events theatre.” The Coup de Theatre Festival is an outdoor community festival and a celebration of the culture and heritage of Annecy. Admission to the popular theatrical events taking place at this festival is free, and professional actors and younger newcomers to the stage take part.

The Coup de Theatre Festival was originally set up in 2011 by the Les Agitateurs de Rêves (“Agitators of Dreams”) Association and has been getting bigger ever since then. In 2014 there were 15 free performances and more than 6,000 spectators turned up at the event. At the Coup de Theatre, local traders and businesses, actors, and local people join together for a week of enjoyment, performance and celebration. In 2015, the festival took place between the 14 and 20 September and it will be happening again this autumn.

Talloires Book Festival

The neighbouring town of Talloires, which is also on the shores of Lake Annecy, holds an annual literary event known as the Talloires Book Festival. It was originally launched in 2010 by Jean-Marie Gourio (author of the famous “Brèves de comptoir”), and has  become a cultural event of national importance, attracting many notable French authors, as well as coverage by the local media each year.

Reading books in French is a really good way of learning the language, and, of course, Annecy is a wonderful place for learning the language because it is spoken by the local people. Also, here at the Ifalpes French Language School we have a working partnership with the Bonlieu Theatre. This means reduced prices on selected shows, and that our students can learn more about the shows they are going to see from their teachers.

Attending festivals and theatrical performances in Annecy is an excellent way of hearing French in use and practicing your command of the language. If you are looking for accommodation in the town, there is a range of hotels in Annecy where you can stay. Annecy is a town where you can enjoy a holiday and where learning can be fun!

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